US Navy Destroyers Will No Longer Feature Touchscreen Technology

Saanvi Araav - Aug 22, 2019


US Navy Destroyers Will No Longer Feature Touchscreen Technology

A recent investigation has shown that the overly complicated touch interface is one of the factor in USS John McCain collision.

Usually, the US military embraces new technology whenever it has a chance. However, this time, it seems to take a rather crucial step backward with the decision to remove touchscreens controls from its destroyers in the next 18-24 months. It will come back to traditional physical throttles and helm controls.

This comes after a collision

This decision is the response to some feedback from the US fleet. This comes after the investigation of the collision of USS John S. McCain back in 2017, which led to the death of 10 sailors. The investigation indicated that the complex touchscreen system onboard the warship plus the inadequate training were among the main factors leading to the crash with the Liberian vessel.

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It will come back to traditional physical throttles and helm controls.

This change will take effect on all DDG-51 ships which are using the Integrated Navigation and Bridge System. We will be seeing the first switch in the next summer. The first active ship making this change would be USS Ramage, while USS Ted Stevens will the 1st brand-new one to not features touchscreens controls.

Not a total rejection

This decision of the Nany is not a complete rejection of new technology. However, they said that the technology application must be simple to use and make sense. Bill Galinis (Ships Rear Admiral 's Program Executive Officer) has noted on the matter. He commented that just because we can use technology doesn't mean that we should use it.

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Any control interface would need to be accessible for the crew to use and consistent

The US Navy has adopted this touchscreens controls system without carefully considering the high complexity of the system. And there also should be a type of "bridge commonality" to support the sailor when they transfer between ships.

In fact, this doesn't mean they will give up on touchscreens altogether. But Lorin Selby (Rear Admiral- Chief engineer) said that any control interface would need to be accessible for the crew to use and consistent.

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